Turbine vote sinks hospital development

Plans for a wind turbine at Girvan mains farm which would have generated more money for the local community than the entire Hadyard Hill windfarm have been rejected.

South Ayrshire Council’s regulatory panel voted to reject the plans at a meeting on June 26.

The application to erect the 67 metre, 500 kilowatt turbine was made by Ailsa Horizons, a social enterprise and charity which runs a range of projects and offer services to community groups, social enterprises, and public and private sector organisations.

A priority for the charity was the redevelopment of the former Davidson Hospital. Funds generated from the wind turbine would be used to redevelop the building as a small business and social enterprise centre.

The applicant estimated that the residual profits from the turbine would be £128-£147,000 every year for the anticipated timescale of the turbine’s operation.

A report to the regulatory panel stated that there would be unacceptable impacts on the landscape character of the area, visual amenity and on local biodiversity.

It stated: “The aims of Ailsa Horizons in seeking to generate income that would be directly re-invested in projects intended to have socio-economic benefits is to be supported, but I am not persuaded that the local environmental impacts, borne directly in and around Girvan, are outweighed by those benefits, which in turn cannot be ring-fenced to Girvan and its suurounding communities.

“The potential impacts of the turbine on tourism and recreational interests is a matter which may be of significance, given the proximity of the turbine to the main A77 coastal road and a number of informal tourist and leisure resources, including the coastal foopath and cycle byway.

“I am mindful that the cumulative impact of the Girvan Mains turbine on the landscape would begin to establish a perception of the A77 between the immediate north of Turnberry and the immediate south of Girvan as being characterised by individual large scale turbine structures.”

It is understood that the applicant is now lodging an appeal with the reporter for the Scottish Government.

The turbine application was supported by Girvan and district community council and all three south Carrick councillors, John McDowall, Alec Clark and Alec Oattes all spoke in favour of it at the panel meeting.

At a meeting of the community council last week councillor John McDowall said: “Income from that was more than all 52 turbines at Hadyard Hill and the intention was to use that to fund the redevelopment of the Davidson Hospital as a business hub.

Ailsa Horizons would be getting the whole of the income apart from an amount going to the landowner.

“This is major disappointment. It does not mean that it will not happen but an appeal could take several months.”

Alec Clark said: “From Bridge Mill to Girvan Mains is an industrial complex. They were trying to say that it would have a visual impact on the Bridge Mill, which is an industrial site.”

The applicaion was originally presented to the panel in November 2012, also with a recommendation to be refused, but the applicant, Ailsa Horizons, requested additional time to address issues in relation to the control of the application site and details of socio-economic benefits from the development.